Best Areas For Food In Kolkata

My first piece on Polka Cafe. Have a look!

“Kolkata is a foodie’s paradise! The amalgamation of the distinct tastes of the Eastern & Western halves of Bengal coupled with motley of influences over history have created a gorgeous and lip-smacking melange of dishes. There are strong Mughlai, Punjabi, Chinese, Tibetan, and South Indian influences. The hint of Anglo-Indian and Armenian cuisine is subtle, but not non-existent. Globalization has introduced more exotic cuisines like Lebanese, South Asian, Greek, Italian, Mediterranean, and Japanese into the palette and niche restaurants catering to specific tastes are opening their doors to them. Bengalis love their fish, meat, and desserts – the ubiquitous mishti that is our pride.

Here are 11 places in Kolkata that you can visit for a gastronomic adventure. Welcome to the land of foodgasms!”

Read the rest of my article here.

#111

my fingers are stained with tannin- “leave the windows open, will you?”- i can weigh the listlessness humming in the air, that scent of paraplegia- “what’s your name again?” the fork slides down the sponge, a burst of cherry bleeds through the chocolate; the saucer stares heedless through the teak, the brick. your hand on my trembling knees.

a spoon clatters. the scarcity of rain pounds against the sole of your mojris. the tea is ripe. if the floor upends, we will be two pendant lights- you brighter, ofcourse- and the bookshelves will open their tongueless mouths and gobble us whole. “what do they call this place now?” from the window, a foreign summer wafts in.

in a parallel world, i am writing you a drawing of the city that died. the cotton interweaves, my fingertips pucker; your eyes are shards of amethyst. “little blue bird has a magic bead,” i see your lips form words. you empty your pockets of stories as i sit, milky-eyed, licking a cantankerous sun.

©Mohana Das

Save Calcutta’s Architectural Inheritance

On a random morning as we rode a rickety bus towards Esplanade, the dilapidated warehouses (that I’ve seen a million times) lining Strand road elicited an abrupt “you can’t just let them die!” My best friend was caught unaware but he took it upon himself to show me the Calcutta of his childhood and a new love story began. Since then many an afternoon we have found ourselves gazing at houses with intricate railings and slatted windows and spiral stairwells, debating if there was just some way we could get inside and admire the red cement or black and white checkered marble floors and the long verandahs (we are yet to find the courage to ask the owners!) It is sad to see them crumbling, giving way to faceless structures that have no stories to tell, no whiff of nostalgia around them. Without her rich architectural heritage, Calcutta ceases to be Calcutta. Calcutta ceases to be the city many like us identify with. It becomes a city without a soul. It becomes just another urban maze stripped of poetry and memories and music. It becomes uninspiring. It becomes powerless.

We don’t want to lose the Calcutta we love.

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Amit Chaudhuri is spearheading a campaign to preserve Calcutta’s unique architecture. No, we are not talking about the mansions and memorials of the Raj or the rajbaris of the Bengali landowners. We are talking about the hundreds of unnamed houses that are being demolished to make way for swanky apartment blocks in the old neighbourhoods of the city. In no other city, in India or abroad, will you find structures built in what is called the Bengali-European style. For more about the cause, read this article on the Guardian.

Help us save Calcutta’s architectural inheritance by signing the petition here.

A house on Hindustan Park (Photo Courtesy: The Guardian)

A house on Hindustan Park (Photo Courtesy: The Guardian)

Date Notes, 28 Apr ’15

evening- the sky threatens to inundate-
we pack a plate of momos- chicken,
schezuan- hop into an auto:
darkness swirls over the aged buildings of Hatibagan.
trams, their toothless mouths stuffed with romanticism,
hobble unmindful. all morning, we tried
etching secrets onto each other’s skin, ears
cocked for the softest sound of feet down the
corridor: as we kissed; as we exhaled the
anguish of seven long days out on the cold red
floor. the rush is thinning spasmodically.
a cubic angstrom of my brain feels exhilarated as the traffic count
goes 5-4-3-2-1- yellow taxis zoom, i bump sideways in his chest-
everything smells of sweet,
wet earth.

at Ahiritola, we find the river weeping:
blue-black bruises blotch her swollen face,
the wind lashes, tears froth-lipped waves into
tattered skeins- i clutch his arm,
the jetty trembles and the sky is electric.
when it starts raining, we have just
unwrapped the momos- hurriedly, my mauve umbrella
goes up. our backs are slabs of ice.

evening- it pours- monsoon is an enraged
raga. the strings of her tanpura are ablaze.
leaflets engorge with ecstasy, the bloom of petrichor percolates
through flesh, bones- i feed him momos,
hungry for touch and warmth and proximity.
the bridge is a limp line of halogens
hovering ghost-like between earth and sky.
a launch bobs bearing-less in the distance.
our lips ache for a confluence.
Kolkata holds us back despite herself.

©Mohana Das

unmoored

wednesday, 25th june

13:00. A white and blue steamer bobs slightly. Abandoned. Through the blast of chill, I can see her face. Eyes shut. Breathes rusty. Anchored close to a supposition I know nothing about. A love. To whoever classified the living and the non living- you were wrong. Didn’t you hear how on afternoons like this, when the storm is real, even metal grows a heart, assumes a life of its own? Continue reading

Sunset


SUNSET:
 
Another day slain.
Puddles of blood wash the Ganges red,
dismantling heaps of filth,
metal ash, acid stains,
entails, un-formalin-ed, and
superfluous dreams,
toxic, toxins.
 
The tinkers are home. Rag-picking kids
doze in evening schools -a
bright eyed spark in the mediocrity-
dish-wash pavements: red,
green polka-blinks, all day
amusing foreign lenses documenting poverty.
 
Oily vermilion stains on
Banyan barks, empty
Ghats expecting apparitions of the
British Raj, some tawny eyes glaring
at far-away shores
beyond spice money, exotic whores.
 
Tide-fed moss licks my feet,
liverworts hum lullabies,
lights zoom across the suspended bridge-
a blur of lines, rounds,
and smoke, just gleam and glitter,
nothing more.
 
The monsoons have gone,
erasing blemishes from her watery face,
scrubbed smooth, a satin
velvety red, rippling, whispering
too many words, to
identical shores, till business goes to bed.
I sit alone, mourning none, listening to silence.
 
© Mohana Das
 
 

Prompts:

i. One Single Impression- http://onesingleimpression.blogspot.com/
 
ii. Carry on Tuesday- http://carryontuesdayprompt.blogspot.com/2011/10/carry-on-tuesday-128.html